On Jan. 9, I received a West Vancouver parking ticket for "failing to remove vehicle from the limited zone." The sign, where I was parked on the 1400-block Marine Drive says clearly: Parking 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. - 2 Hours.
That day, after I dropped off my grandchildren at their school, I stopped at Amadeo to have a quick cup of coffee and read the paper. I left and drove home after 15 minutes.
At 11: 30 a.m., I parked again on the same block to have lunch at the Thai restaurant. One hour and fifteen minutes later, I went back to my car to find a parking ticket of $35.
I appealed the ticket. A few days later, I received a call from a "screening officer." She told me about the new bylaw. Any further appeal, she said, would not be successful. According to her, I clearly had violated the new bylaw. Whether I had ever heard of it or not, did not matter. What the signs indicated didn't matter either, she said. She asked me: "Are you going to pay it?" I agreed, since I seemed to have no other choice.
She gave me two days to pay, or the fine would increase. Overnight, I changed my mind. But when I spoke to the same screening officer, she said I could not appeal because I had agreed to pay. Nothing could be done about it now because she had destroyed the photo after I had agreed to pay. Do you believe she got rid of the evidence before the ticket was paid?
This is what I learned from her: West Vancouver created this new bylaw to save the small businesses. Some people, she said, are moving their cars farther along the block to avoid tickets. Now, with the new camera equipment and the new bylaw, the municipality is finally able to stop that practice. Really? What I've seen is people who used to move their cars along the 1400-block are now simply moving their cars to the 1500-block, and people who moved their car along the 1500-block are now parking at the 1400-block. Do we have fewer cars parked now? No!
We locals have always supported the small businesses. Now, we must decide, do we want to risk a ticket in order to buy our fresh produce, flowers, or fish from small businesses, or should we park in front of the new Fresh St. Market, where parking is no problem? There, even if we forget an item, there's no problem parking a second time. All we get is a smile!
Someone please tell me, how does that help the small businesses?
Regina Baumann, West Vancouver
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